Cuomo: State takeover of Penn Station needs city money
As commuters brace for a so-called summer of hell at Penn Station, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for a state takeover of the embattled transit hub. With Amtrak planning to cut train service by 20 percent for six weeks while it makes some long-overdue repairs, Cuomo told Good Day New York that he has serious doubts about the timetable and if Amtrak can even get the job done.
"The state will step up and do it," Cuomo said. "We don't own Penn Station but we will step up and we'll take over construction and we'll do it with a private construction company or let the Port Authority do it."
But he added that he can't do it without funding. He said that is where the city comes in.
"As long as New York City steps up to the plate with funding, I will step up to the plate with leadership and management responsibility," Cuomo said.
At an MTA meeting during which the board voted to add nearly $3 billion to its five-year capital plan for repairs and upgrades, acting MTA Chairman Fernando Ferrer agreed with the governor. He said cities and counties should pitch in to pay for Penn Station improvements, a burden he admitted will likely fall on taxpayers.
"Of course it means that," Ferrer said. "And it also means the state, federal governments step up as well."
However, when asked about it at a news conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to contradict both Ferrer and the governor when he said the city has no intention of putting money toward Penn Station.
"I want to say very clearly. The governor did not imply the city investing toward Penn Station and we're not going to invest towards Penn Station," de Blasio said.
Fox 5 reached out to both the governor's office and Amtrak for comment but did not get a response.